Another Coconut Cornbread
I am always bewildered when I hear people complain about cooking for folks observing special diets. The truth is I love cooking to accommodate people’s restrictions. I hope that doesn’t make it sound like I would in a million years wish any kind of restriction on anybody heaven forbid, but here we are, fragile, edible, organic creatures ourselves, and we’re doing the best we can.
What I have found is that more restrictions I need to observe, the more wildly creative energy goes into the recipe. Some of you already know that I have a special fondness for the Jewish holiday of Peysekh (Passover), a time of year when we are “allowed to go crazy” to quote one rabbi of my acquaintance, with regard to the intensity of our efforts. There are many recipes I am delighted to use all year that I would never have dreamed up if not for the many restrictions of the Peysekh season, which is coming, I am just saying, much sooner than any of us think.
Which brings me to this recipe. I have been baking lots of cornbread lately—all minor variations of this one, but I thought this particular recipe might interest you. It’s for a bunch of folks who, when you add them all together, avoid wheat, milk, nuts, sugar, eggs, soy, and yeast. Who’d have guessed it turns out that you can make cornbread without any of those things. Life is good.
Coconut Cornbread with Kabocha and Amaranth
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups Iroquois white corn flour or other cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
12 ounces coconut milk
2 tablespoons cooked whole grain amaranth
¼ cup cooked orange sweet potato or cooked winter squash such as kabocha
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon bamboo honey, buckwheat honey or other darkish honey.
½ cup corn kernels, optional (I will allow frozen in this case)
Preheat oven to 400.
Melt the coconut oil in a small (eight or nine inch) cast iron skillet or other baking pan. Mix together cornmeal and baking powder in a medium bowl.
Place coconut milk, cooked amaranth, cooked sweet potato or squash, salt and honey into a blender or processor and blend very thoroughly.
Make a well in the center of the cornmeal. Pour in the liquid ingredients and mix gently.
Add almost all the corn kernels if you are using them, and combine. I saved a few to sprinkle on top. Pour in the hot coconut oil and mix quickly. Pour the batter back into the skillet, and sprinkle a few reserved corn kernels on top, if desired. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until golden around the edges and firm in the center.
I got my cast iron cookware and wooden spoons from the Lehman’s non-electric catalog. They do have a website to accommodate their non-Amish clients. Be careful; once you look at this site, you will realize that you have always wanted to grind coffee by hand, and that’s just the beginning.
About those oven temperatures, I should probably admit that last year, in a frenzy of Peysekh cleaning, I scrubbed the numbers off the dial. I have a thermometer, and I marked the spot that most reliably gets the oven to 350, and on either side of that, I’m flying by the seat of my pants.
I learned about adding the pureed cooked amaranth to bind the batter from a very talented chef when I was baking at a vegan restaurant. Lots of stories.